Lyft is making face masks mandatory for drivers and passengers, the company announced Thursday. Using the app, drivers and passengers will be required to confirm that they are wearing a mask and are symptom-free. Those who don’t agree to the new policy will be barred from the platform.
The news comes as Lyft is beginning to dig itself out of a financial hole brought on by the COVID-19 outbreak. The company said its ride-hailing business plummeted 75 percent by mid-April but has been slowing increasing since then. Lyft also laid off 17 percent of its workforce, or around 1,000 people.
Uber is said to be close to revealing its own face mask requirement in the coming weeks, which CNN says may include a technological aspect to confirm drivers and passengers are wearing one. Lyft is relying on self-certification, though drivers can report passengers who don’t wear masks, and vice versa. Lyft said violations of its new policy would result in account suspension.
Lyft said it has spent several million dollars on hand sanitizer and face masks that it is distributing to its drivers. The company’s driver hubs are currently closed, but the company is working on setting up some pop-up hubs to get masks to drivers through a contactless handoff.
Drivers are also being required to frequently sanitize their vehicles and to keep their windows open as much as possible to ensure air circulation. Passengers are also being barred from riding in the front seat of vehicles.
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